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8 Things You Need To Know When Creating A Marketable Pseudonym

Many famous authors have written under pseudonyms throughout history - also called nom de plumes, alias, literary double, fake names, or nicknames. Think of authors like Dr. Seuss, George Elliot, Lee Child, George Orwell, and Lewis Carroll. And we all know the famous J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. 

Although using an alias is not suitable for all writers, some use it to protect their privacy and identity, experiment with a different genre, or have a hard-to-remember or forgettable name. 

Choosing a pseudonym is no simple task. What should you consider when selecting an alias?

1. If you write non-fiction, ensure that your name doesn't sound younger than your reader's age, or you will have no credibility. You can use a website like Baby Center to find top baby names for your pseudonym's birth year. 

2. Choose a name that fits your genre. Ben Small, for example, won't create much confidence in your reader if you write thrillers or horror novels. Have a look at famous authors in your genre for inspiration. If your pen name starts with the same three first letters of a well-known author in your genre, your books will land up next to theirs in book stores and libraries. 

3. Check that your chosen name's domain and social media handles are available and secure them to help your future marketing. The domain will become the home of your author's website, a place where readers can get to know you. And social media is beneficial to connect with your readers and promote your new books. 

4. Ensure your alias is easy to remember, pronounce, and type so that readers can find it when searching for you on Google. It would be best not to select names with variations in spelling to avoid confusion.

5. Choose a unique name. If you use a name similar to a famous author, it will create confusion, and you will disappear in the Google search results.

6. Trust your gut. If you plan to attend in-person publicity events, will you be comfortable if fans call you by that name?

7. Choose a name that stands out. Think about how this pen name differentiates you from the competition. Look at the current author names in your genre, and see how you can create a name that is different in structure or gender. 

8. Use your character-building skills to create a persona for your alias. It is crucial for social media marketing as a way for your target readers to connect with you. Answer this question: What would you like readers to think about you when they see your pen name?

Like Stephen McCauley, writing under a pseudonym can be liberating, allowing you to write what you want. But it would be best to create a unique name that is memorable, easy to type, and fits your genre and the age of your ideal reader. 

As a novelist, have fun by creating a character (persona) for yourself and choosing a pen name to go with it. But remember that you must be comfortable with this persona and alias since this is who your readers will connect to on social media. 



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Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt